Thousand Island Pond was the third branch of Beastmaster Camp, also one of the strongest.
It was a gigantic pond with numerous islands. Calling it an ocean was more accurate; one wouldn’t be able to see the other shore.
A pond of this size was very rare even across the massive Heaven’s Equal Mountain Range.
Of course, it didn’t have one thousand islands either, only 84 islands and 356 reefs.
The largest island was named Stupa. It had a seven-floor pagoda - the training place for the Buddhist Supreme.
Inside the pagoda, a sixteen-year-old girl wearing a white Buddhist dress and a jade-bead necklace said: “Greetings, Buddhist Supreme, The Qian Clan of Myriad Mines is gifting spirit stones and treasures, hoping that you will accept them.”
A lotus was floating in the air; the leaves were verdant with spirit spring water flowing. Three white lotuses were in full bloom with a woman sitting on top of one of them. No one could see her appearance, only her white dress and black hair. She was reading a scripture, in search of enlightenment.
This was the supreme of Thousand Island Pond - Wu Qinghua.
She was one of the two most gifted women in the sect and nearly became the camp master. However, she was in the middle of an important cultivation session with the Golden Silkworm Scripture as the previous master was passing away, so Tan Qingsu inherited the role.
She has always been unsatisfied with Qingsu and felt that she was too soft and virtuous - always promoting isolation. This limited the development of Beastmaster Camp and the proliferation of Buddhism. If this continued, the camp’s influence would continue to weaken.
She believed that there was no need to hide or lay low. They should be entering the world to spread Buddhism, recruit more disciples, and create more institutions in the secular world. This would be preparations in order to herald the next golden age of Buddhism.
The two didn’t share the same ideologies so their relationship deteriorated. Because of this, she castrated Rhino after it accidentally came here.
The disciples believed that she was showing up the camp master and that a fight could break out between the two. However, contrary to everyone’s expectation, Qingsu ignored this matter.
Qinghua’s voice was young and cold: “Ming Mo, why isn’t Ming Luo with you?”
The girl named Ming Mo replied: “Supreme, Ming Luo had a problem with cultivation so she is now resting and will come to see you when she is well.”
Ming Mo and Ming Luo were Qinghua’s personal maids, always together.
A drop of spirit spring water floated up and fell into Qinghua’s hand. The lotuses nearby exuded spirit energy that gathers into the drop of water, turning it into a green pill.
“Give this pill to her and remind her that Buddhism is a gradual process, don’t just look at short-term benefits and rush it. Tell her to come and see me right away after she is well-rested.” Qinghua waved her hand and the pill flew into Ming Mo’s hand.
“Thank you, Supreme. I will go give it to Ming Luo now.” Ming Mo was excited.
She happily skipped out while thinking that the supreme might look cold and emotionless, but she was very kind to her disciples - caring for a regular servant.
Qinghua sighed and put away the scroll. She turned into a wind and floated downward to take a look at the white treasure chest.
It contained the spirit stones and treasures from the Qian.
Every sect needed resources for cultivation. Even Buddhism was no exception.
The Qian Clan Master, Qian Shiren, has always wanted to have her daughter train in Beastmaster Camp as an inner disciple. However, she didn’t have the right mental state and cultivation to do so.
This was the sixth time the Qian had brought gifts.
Wu Qinghua wasn’t an old nun. She was rather pretty - clear and attractive complexion, pink lips, white teeth, thin and long brows, and only around twenty years of age. Her long hair draped near the ground with a simple, white ribbon tied in the middle.
She dressed in a simple manner - just a white Buddhist dress and Buddhist beads in her hand.
She didn’t bother to look at the treasures as if they were mere rocks.
‘Tan Qingsu taking in that devil Feng Feiyun at our sect… if this were to pass, we will lose our long-running prestige. If it were up to me, I would have killed that devil long ago, why bother to save his life so he can commit more atrocities later?’ Her pretty eyes have a decisive glow. She was relatively unhappy with Qingsu’s choice.
The Beastmaster Camp was the purest Buddhist sect for female cultivators but now, it was actually taking in a vicious villain. What would other people think of this?
On the first day when Feiyun was brought here, Wu Qinghua personally came to Skyhigh Peak and questioned Tan Qingsu, “Feng Feiyun is a monster following a different dao from us, a bloodthirsty demon afflicted with evil. Now that he’s down, we should be ferrying him out of this world.”
Qingsu responded: “No one is born evil, even a demonic beast can be enlightened. Moreover, half of the blood in his body is still human. Killing is not what Buddhists like us search for. A bloodthirsty Buddha is no different from a monster.”
Qinghua retorted: “We’re not Buddhas and won’t be able to enlighten this heinous devil. The most direct method is to kill him. In hell, there will be Buddhas guiding him to the right path.”
Qingsu said: “If we have Buddha in our heart, we are Buddhas. If we ourselves lack confidence in saving people, then why bother to cultivate Buddhism and learn its ideologies?”
“Qingsu, have you forgotten the rules of our sect?!”
“Rules are made by people, so people can change it as well.”
“Don’t you know what this monster had done?! If people were to find out that we are harboring him, the reputation of our sect will be ruined!”
“More people will die if we let him run free. Reputation is nothing compared to the preciousness of life. Killing a devil is easy, but saving one is much harder.”
Qinghua sneered: “Watch it, maybe it’ll consume you before you can save it.”
“My body might be consumed but my Buddhist heart is without regrets.” Qingsu chanted with unspeakable holiness.
Qinghua recalled this debate back then and thought that Qingsu was idiotic, ‘Weak, ignorant, and so self-assured. Tan Qingsu, your personality is not fit to be the camp master.’
Tan Qingsu grew up in the sect and hasn’t taken a step outside. She wasn’t aware of the treachery and evil in others, and definitely not how far Feiyun had fallen to the evil path. Her weak Buddhist abilities weren’t enough to save him; it was akin to throwing an egg at a rock.
‘Living for several hundred years already yet is still as innocent as a little girl, she’ll only be feeding the devil.’ Wu Qinghua concluded as her hair fluttered in the air. She slightly waved her hand and a wind opened the treasure chest.
The shining lights of these treasures oozed outside and made the whole place ethereal.
She took a glance and wanted to order them to bring back. However, her expression became serious after she noticed a black ring in the corner.
It was ancient, made of unknown material - neither gold nor rock. No spirit energy was visible either.
However, she could sense a powerful spirituality within - far superior to ordinary spirit treasures.
It attracted her full attention. She took a step forward and reached out, shrouded in clouds and mist. She held the black rings with two delicate fingers.
“Such powerful spirituality, comparable to the greatest Buddhist artifact of Thousand Island, White Carp Eye. Just what is this thing? Did that clan master dig out an ancient artifact from his mine but can’t spot this level of spirituality so he gave it to me?” She held it in her palm and tried to feel the spirituality inside. The hymn of the grand dao resounded faintly.
There were five ancient words that she couldn’t recognize despite being versed in old texts.
She pondered for a long time before putting it on her finger.
This was human instinct, akin to seeing a good fruit and wanting to take a bite, or seeing money on the ground and wanting to pick it up - either to keep it or to give it back.
This was the case for Wu Qinghua. Holding a treasure ring made her want to try it on though she didn’t necessarily want it and could take it off later.
“Boom!” The moment she got it on, a massive repelling energy exploded from the ring. A black brilliant nearly crushed her finger. The five old runes started to spin and turned into five diagrams. They slammed into her body at the same time.
This force was terrifying, stemming from the source of the ring. The spirituality inside naturally attacked her since she wasn’t its master. She wasn’t ready for this at all so the diagrams blew her flying, smashing into a wall of the pagoda.
She fell down, unconscious. The ring on her white-as-snow finger still emitted a terrible light.
At the same time, Feiyun walked into the pagoda with a sinister aura and closed the doors. He saw the unconscious woman and smirked. His blood boiled with surging evil affinity.
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